The Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 ($799.99 as tested) is a full-featured midrange convertible-hybrid laptop with an all-metal design and speedy components. Its Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of memory are capable of handling day-to-day computing tasks, and its sharp 14-inch, 1080p touch display and convertible form factor make it well-suited to both entertainment and work. The Satellite Radius 12 is still edged by our Editors’ Choice, the Acer Aspire R 14 (R5-471T-52EE) with its longer-lasting battery, superior keyboard, and larger screen. The Acer laptop is also $100 less expensive, with similar performance in our other tests, but the Satellite Radius 12 is still worth checking out if you have a bit more to spend or prefer a 12-inch screen.
Design and Features
The Satellite Radius 12 is made of brushed-silver aluminum and measures 0.61 by 11.8 by 8.2 inches (HWD) and weighs 2.9 pounds. It doesn’t exactly feel light, but the metal finish looks good, and you can easily slip the laptop into your bag. The pricey, 4K Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 (P25W-C2300-4K) is the same size and weight, while the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 measures 0.74 by 12.44 by 8.7 inches and weighs 3.48 pounds. The 13.3-inch HP Spectre x360 13t (13-4003) is about just as thin, at 0.63 by 12.79 by 8.6 inches, but slightly heavier, at 3.26 pounds. The Lenovo LaVie Z 360 still stands out in this regard, since, with a 13.3-inch screen, it weighs just 2.04 pounds.
A sturdy dual-hinge design allows you to use this system in other modes beyond the traditional laptop setup. It can be used in Tabletop mode (laid out flat), Presentation mode (similar to what is often called Tent mode, with the system propped up on its edges with the display facing outward), Audience mode (also referred to as Display mode, the keyboard facing down while the display points out), and Tablet mode (the keyboard is folded all the way behind the display). The screen is easy to move around, and is built securely so it doesn’t flop about when you carry the laptop or put it down.
The 12.5-inch display features a 1,920-by-1,080 resolution and 10-point touch capability, as well as In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology for wider viewing angles. The IPS panel makes a big difference—you can look at the screen from the side or below without the color distortion that can occur on non-IPS displays, like the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12. The screen is reflective, which can be irritating in bright overhead lighting, but otherwise, it looks sharp and clear. This resolution is typical for the category, shared by the Acer Aspire R 14, the ThinkPad Yoga 12, and the HP Spectre x360 13t. The high-end convertible-hybrid Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 (P25W-C2300-4K) offers a 4K display, but that will cost you—the system is $450 more expensive.
The built-in Harman/Kardon speakers provide good sound quality, better than what you’ll find in most slim systems. The speakers get loud, and unlike many, don’t become distorted at maximum volume. As with the Acer Aspire R 14, the keyboard is backlit, which isn’t always a given at this price; the HP Spectre x360 13t features key backlighting, while the Lenovo Yoga 12 does not. The keys themselves are oddly tiny, even for a small system, particularly the arrow keys. This compact keyboard can be annoying, as even common keys like Shift are smaller than normal, which will likely throw you off when switching from another system. The keys could use more travel, too; there’s some resistance that makes the key strokes feel too short and almost sticky. On the bright side, the touchpad is well-built and responsive.
You get a pretty good selection of I/O ports. On the left side of the laptop are a USB-C port, an HDMI port (with 4K output capability), a USB 3.0 port, and the headphone jack, while the right side holds another USB 3.0 port and an SD card slot. Like the Acer Aspire R 14 and the HP Spectre x360 13t, the Satellite Radius 12 includes a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), which is bigger than the Lenovo Yoga 12’s 180GB SSD. It also features dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connectivity. Toshiba includes a two-year limited warranty with the system.
A 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U processor powers the Satellite Radius 12. The system also includes 8GB of memory and integrated Intel HD Graphics 520. It scored 2,921 points on the PCMark 8 Work Conventional productivity test, faring better than the Acer Aspire R 14 (2,780 points), which has a larger screen, the Lenovo Yoga 12 (2,559 points), and the HP Spectre x360 13t (2,707 points). The Satellite Radius 12 does fairly well on the 3D tests, too, scoring 5,736 points on the 3DMark Cloud Gate test and 371 points on the more demanding 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme test. This again beats the Aspire R 14 (5,482 on Cloud Gate; 370 on Fire Strike Extreme), the Yoga 12 (5,337 on Cloud Gate; 340 on Fire Strike Extreme), and the HP Spectre x360 13t (5,213 on Cloud Gate; 341 on Fire Strike Extreme).
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None of the convertible-hybrid systems in this price range are suited to hardcore gaming, though they are capable of playing less demanding titles on low settings. The Satellite Radius 12 managed 19 frames per second (fps) and 23fps at Medium-quality settings on the Heaven and Valley tests, respectively, short of what is considered a smooth frame rate (around 30fps). The Aspire R 14 scored 20fps and 24fps on the same tests, while the HP Spectre x360 13t fell short at 14fps and 15fps. Bumping the settings on Heaven and Valley to Ultra quality is not a viable option; none of these systems were able to reach more than 5fps on either test.
The Satellite Radius 12 did well on our multimedia tests, scoring 287 on the Cinebench test, finishing the Handbrake encoding test in 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and completing the Photoshop test in 4:32. The Aspire R 14, the Lenovo Yoga 12, and the HP Spectre x360 13t were generally closer to the Satellite Radius 12 on these tests than on the productivity and 3D tests. Overall, Toshiba’s system is a little quicker than the competition in this category, and is perfectly capable of work and media tasks (with nearly identical results to the less-expensive Acer Aspire R 14 on our media tests), even if it’s not a processing powerhouse.
The system’s battery life of 7:45 on our rundown test is okay, but the Acer Aspire R 14 (9:37), the HP Spectre 13 x360 13t (8:45), the Lenovo Yoga 12 (8:35), and the Lenovo LaVie Z 360 (8:06) all last longer.
The Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 is a well-built convertible-hybrid laptop with useful features, including a sturdy metal design, a quality display, and a forward-looking USB-C port. It’s a better performer than most similarly priced systems, but for $100 less, the latest Acer Aspire R 14 gets pretty close across the board. Additionally, the R 14 offers a longer battery life and a larger, 14-inch screen that’s still small enough to remain portable. For those reasons, the Acer Aspire R 14 remains our Editors’ Choice for midrange convertible-hybrid laptops. But if you have a slightly bigger budget and prefer a smaller screen, the Satellite Radius 12 is worth considering.